ATX Sound System: December 20, 2018

Christmas, Jamaican Style

Despite the association between reggae and Rastafarianism, the majority of Jamaicans celebrate Christmas, and the island remains home to one of the most unique Christmas music catalogs in the world. Even when Jamaican artists take on a well-known, traditional carol, it is typically infused with the sort of reggae vibes and Caribbean-centric touches that could only have come from this part of the world. The musically-obsessed site Aquarium Drunkard last year dug deep into the crates to assemble an unprecedented collection of rare and vintage Jamaican Christmas tracks. They also set the scene with a history of popular Christmas music in Jamaica, along with a little insight into Yuletide celebrating, past and present, on this special island. If you’d like to transport your holidays back to a Christmas eve in 1970s Jamaica, we highly recommend checking it out here: Christmas Jambree: A Vintage Jamaican Yuletide Mixtape.

 

Afro B: Dancehall on an Afro Wave



South London (via Ivory Coast) resident Afro B is another name from the UK’s red-hot Afrobeat scene that’s been crossing over into dancehall sets of late. A self-described dancehall fan, Afro B prefers to use the term “AfroWave” to describe his sound, which is a fusion of African pop, UK hip-hop and Jamaican dancehall. After his track “Drogba (Joanna)” went global earlier this year (you know the one: “Joanna, Jo Jo Joanna…”), Afro B has been on fire. His newest single, “Melanin”, finds him pairing again with Team Salut, the (equally-hot) UK production trio behind “Drogba” and several other recent hits, and dropping a tune that immediately found its way onto our turntables. Check out “Melanin” on our Spotify playlist–and try to resist putting it on repeat.

 

Dutty Rock vs Afro Beat

The influence of dancehall on the Afro beat scene seems to now be going in both directions. Sean Paul’s latest production, the Gang Gang Riddim — which provides the foundation for his new single, “Look Quick”, as well as a series of other vocals from the likes of Konshens, Chi Ching Ching and Wayne Marshall — shows the resurgent singer/producer clearly absorbing the sounds of Afro Beat and Afro Swing. The Gang Gang Riddim displays the sort of gentle lope and bouncy melody that would be right at home in an Afro beats set. Listen for it on the Farenizzi track “Tonight,” which we’ve added to our Spotify playlist this week.

 

This Week’s Austin Reggae Fest Spotify Playlist

Click here to hear the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.